Displaying items by tag: direct indexing
Financial Planner: Direct Indexing is Not Better than ETFs
Allan Roth, founder of Wealth Logic LLC recently penned an article for etf.com where he provided his opinion on direct indexing vs. ETFs. While direct indexing is forecasted to attract assets at a faster pace than ETFs, according to a recent report by Cerulli Associates, Roth believes that direct indexing is not better than ETFs. While he does mention the benefits of direct indexing such as tax advantages, customization, and low annual costs, he asked, “But is direct indexing better than ETFs?" He added, "Generally they are not, in my view, at least not compared to the best ETFs.” He uses the S&P 500 as an example. Vanguard’s VOO ETF has a 0.03% annual expense ratio, while direct indexing typically has an annual fee of at least 0.40% annually. Roth does say that the 0.37 percentage point differential could be made up from the benefit of tax-loss harvesting in the early years, but he believes it likely won’t continue. That is because the stock market “generally moves up in the long run, so each year there is less and less tax-loss harvesting. Yet the fees continue.” In addition, after a few years, he says that “the tax benefit is minimal, and all that is left are fees and complexities.”
Finsum:Financial planner Allan Roth recently wrote an article for etf.com where he stated that direct indexing is not better than ETFs since direct indexing is more expensive and its tax benefits are minimal after a few years.
Can Direct Indexing’s Advantages be Duplicated by ETFs?
In a recent article for the Wall Street Journal, author Mark Hulbert defends the use of ETFs in opposition to people who say direct indexing is a superior method of investing. Many brokerage firms that have created direct-indexing platforms say direct indexing is better as it allows investors to create a customized index without stocks that they don't want and also can strategically harvest tax losses. However, Hubert believes that most of direct indexing’s supposed advantages can be duplicated by ETFs at a lower cost. For instance, customizing an index can be duplicated. According to Lawrence Tint, the former U.S. CEO of BGI, the organization that created iShares, now part of BlackRock, anybody could achieve the same result by buying a generic index ETF and then selling short the stocks that we want to avoid. Tint also doubts that direct indexing’s ability to harvest tax losses outweighs the cost savings of investing in a low-cost ETF. He stated that, over time, an investor who sells his losers from his direct-index portfolio will increasingly be left with a portfolio of mostly unrealized gains. So, the benefit of being able to decide when to take tax losses will fall over time. An investor will also have to pay higher fees each year to maintain the direct index. In addition, he also noted that tax-loss harvesting is only applicable to taxable accounts.
Finsum:In an article for the Wall Street Journal, author Mark Hulbert defends the use of ETFs against direct indexing as its ability to harvest tax losses outweighs the cost savings of a low-cost ETF, while customization can be replicated by buying an index and shorting the stocks you don’t want.
Orion Unveils Bespoke Custom Indexing for Independent Advisors
Orion Advisor Solutions recently unveiled significant enhancements to its technology during the opening session of the firm’s flagship Ascent conference. Founder and CEO Eric Clarke addressed an audience of 1,600 advisors and revealed the firm’s new Story Paths advisor-facing technology for its Orion Custom Indexing solution. The new technology will allow advisors to easily select from one of several user paths which allows the advisor to customize portfolios or tax transition legacy assets within a handful of steps and minutes. The announcement comes as consumer demand for more personalized services has increased with assets in direct indexed SMAs ballooning to $362 billion. Orion’s Custom Indexing solution, which was launched in 2018, allows registered investment advisors to differentiate their offering with personalized, professionally managed, low-cost portfolios. Clarke stated, “While other direct indexing solutions cater almost exclusively to wirehouse advisors, we set out to build a solution with a heavy emphasis on customization that meets the needs of the independent advisor.” The new Story Paths workflow enables advisors to create truly custom portfolios at scale, whether they’re aiming to track a traditional index, replicate a factor-tilted exposure, or overlay to an existing internal or third-party separately managed account. In addition, the new technology will streamline the portfolio customization and tax transition process to a matter of minutes compared to the industry normal of multiple days.
Finsum:Orion recently unveiled new enhancements to its direct indexing technology that will allow independent advisors to create truly custom portfolios at scale within minutes.
Natixis and Solactive Partner on Direct Indexing SMAs
Natixis Investment Management Solutions and German index provider Solactive announced that they have partnered to offer direct indexing separately managed accounts (SMAs). The partnership will see Natixis offer its managed account clients exposure to 31 Solactive indices, including 11 of its global benchmark and 16 of its factor series. Solactive’s global benchmark suite covers 24 developed and 24 emerging markets, while its factor range covers value, quality, momentum, low volatility, growth, and small caps. Natixis’s direct indexing business has grown from $4 million in assets under management in 2002 to $8 billion today. The firm attributes this success to evolutions in the business such as falling trading fees and fractionalization that have increased retail investors’ ability to benefit from customized asset allocation. Timo Pfeiffer, chief markets officer at Solactive, had this to say about the collaboration, “Direct indexing has been progressively gaining popularity to a larger group of investors, particularly in the U.S. With this tool, investors can allocate their assets to a tailored portfolio with a Solactive benchmark as a starting point, applying numerous kinds of filters according to their needs and world views.” Curt Overway, co-head of Natixis Investment Management, added, “We are excited to begin working with Solactive and their comprehensive suite of indices, which will allow us to extend the range of capabilities and strategies we offer as part of our Active Index Advisors (AIA) offering.”
Finsum:Natixis Investment Management Solutions is extending its range of capabilities and strategies by partnering with German index provider Solactive to offer directing indexing SMAs.
Why Direct Indexing Isn't Taking Over Yet
While direct indexing is expected to see wider engagement this year, it isn’t ready to take over the wealth management industry quite yet. That is according to Anton Honikman, CEO of MyVest, who stated “I’m not necessarily of the view that 2023 will be the year that direct indexing becomes broadly democratized. There’s a different discussion about bringing direct indexing to a broader market. What’s hindering that is the need for more of an experience with direct indexing.” Honikman says the necessary building blocks for direct indexing are in place such as access to fractional shares, commission-free trading, and portfolio management technology capable of handling the nuances of direct indexing. However, the technology to unlock its full potential is not in place, according to Honikman. That technology would enable the “true personalization” of financial plans and portfolios at scale. For now, Honikman believes that it makes more economic sense for firms to serve down-market clients with the next best alternative: low-cost, tax-efficient, ETF-based portfolios. Honikman says 2023 will be a year that technologists and wealth management firms continue to invest in personalization by focusing on building the onboarding experience and the data collection, management, and reporting capabilities that will eventually enable direct indexing.
Finsum:Anton Honikman, CEO of wealthtech firm MyVest, believes that direct indexing isn’t ready to take over the wealth management industry until technology such as data collection and reporting that would enable the “true personalization” of portfolios is put in place.